Yes, you read it right. I said YOUR graphic designer because they will become part of your business. Just as your accountant knows your finances, your GP your health and your lawyer your legal issues, your graphic designer looks after the visual image for your business.
This checklist will help you choose the right graphic designer for you and your business.
1. Do you like their work?
Check their portfolio first. Does the designer have samples similar to the work you require? Can you see it online? If no online design samples are available request them via email.
2. Where do they work from?
Check contact information such as phone, email, location and their digital footprint (Facebook, LinkedIn pages). Where do they work from? Are they happy to meet you at their premises? Can they come to you if needed? Do you need to pay extra for that?
A graphic designer can be located anywhere in the world and still provide you with outstanding customer service but always ask for references from previous clients before hiring anyone.
After hearing many horror stories from clients, I’d personally avoid graphic designers who don’t disclose their location. A contact form on a website is not enough. If the designer you’re interested in is overseas, try using Google maps to check his location.
3. Do you bond with them?
If possible, meet the designer at his or her premises, or have an ‘online’ meeting (Skype?). This will give you a better overview of the type of business they run and give you confidence in the work they do or not. Trust your instincts.
4. Do they have time to help you?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as:
- How is the design work charged? Hourly rate or per project?
- What happens to the artwork if the designer stops trading?
- How much input would the designer require from you, if any?
5. How much will it cost?
Cost should not be the only motivating factor in choosing your graphic designer. It’s true in the graphic design industry, as in any other, that you get what you pay for. You need to weigh up the graphic designer’s experience and results with the fee proposal.
6. Can you get a written quote?
A written quote helps both designer and client establish the scope of the design service.
7. Can you trust them?
Your brand is precious. Treat it that way. Check testimonials and call a former or current client of the designer you’re interested in to ask them about their experiences.
8. Are they qualified?
Graphic design is not about being artistic, having a flair for design or knowing how to use a computer and Photoshop. Check for formal qualifications. Although graphic design is not yet a regulated profession in Australia, it is a profession just like architecture, law and accounting, and professional people tend to have professional qualifications. Professional graphic designers will follow design procedures, applying design principles and commercial guidelines as they create your artwork.
9. Will they collaborate?
Is your designer happy to work alongside other consultants like printers, signwriters and web developers if needed? This is important as your brand grows and develops.
10. Are they humble and human?
Last but not least, look for a humble heart. No matter how good a graphic designer is, there should be space for your input and feedback. A good graphic designer who understands the human element will be prepared to make changes until you get an outstanding design that makes your brand look as good as it is.